The New Jersey legislature and Governor Chris Christie delivered a budget that includes substantial increases in aid for nonpublic school students in New Jersey, including Jewish day schools and yeshivas, Teach NJS reported. Teach NJS is a project of day schools across the state, the Orthodox Union, and several Jewish federations.
The fiscal year 2018 budget (which began July 1) allocates $40 million in government aid for New Jersey’s nonpublic schools on a per pupil basis, $6 million more than for this school year. New Jersey’s Jewish day schools will receive approximately $11 million, a $1.7 million increase over this year.
This budget victory is an 18 percent increase from the current year and a 42 percent increase since Teach NJS’s inception. The funding includes increases for security, nursing aid, and technology.
The security funding represents a 50 percent increase from this year and was a particularly pressing issue in the light of increased threats and vandalism in the Jewish community.
Teach NJS worked with a grassroots network of schools, parents, and lay leaders to advocate for Jewish schools in Trenton. Throughout 2017, Teach NJS held meetings with top New Jersey government leaders and brought elected officials to New Jersey Jewish day schools — including Moriah, Ben Porat Yosef, and Yavneh — to talk to students and discuss the schools’ needs with administrators.
Teach NJS worked closely with Assembly Budget Chair Gary Schaer, Senate Budget Chair Paul Sarlo, Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, Senate President Steve Sweeney; and Governor Christie.
“We are so pleased with this significant advance for New Jersey nonpublic schools,” Mark Bane, president of the Orthodox Union, said. “We thank both the legislature and Gov. Christie for delivering for our children, and we express our appreciation to the thousands of parents and New Jersey citizens who pursued efforts in support of this important undertaking.”
“While we still have some ways to go to achieve full parity with public schools, there is a recognition in state government that nonpublic school students deserve access to basic services,” Teach NJS co-chair Sam Moed said. “The legislature and governor deserve credit for this important step.”
“Teach NJS is extremely grateful to the New Jersey legislature and Gov. Christie for increasing state aid for nonpublic schools,” said Josh Caplan, state director of Teach NJS. “Teach NJS would like to specifically thank Assembly Budget Chair Gary Schaer for his leadership in the successful passage of this bill. We also could not have achieved this victory without the help of the schools, parents, lay leaders, and our partners at the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey who dedicate themselves every day to fighting for our kids.”